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Recombinant Antibodies against Mycolactone
Open AccessReview

Could Mycolactone Inspire New Potent Analgesics? Perspectives and Pitfalls

France Univ. Lille, CNRS, Inserm, CHU Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, U1019-UMR8204-CIIL-Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille, F-59000 Lille, France
Institut de Cancérologie de l’Ouest Paul Papin, 15 rue André Boquel-49055 Angers, France
Unité de Microbiologie Structurale, Institut Pasteur, CNRS, Univ. Paris, F-75015 Paris, France
Equipe ATIP AVENIR, CRCINA, INSERM, Univ. Nantes, Univ. Angers, 4 rue Larrey, F-49933 Angers, France
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These three authors contribute equally to this work.
Toxins 2019, 11(9), 516;
Received: 29 June 2019 / Revised: 26 August 2019 / Accepted: 3 September 2019 / Published: 4 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycolactone: Lipid-Like Immunosuppressive Toxin of Buruli Ulcer)
Pain currently represents the most common symptom for which medical attention is sought by patients. The available treatments have limited effectiveness and significant side-effects. In addition, most often, the duration of analgesia is short. Today, the handling of pain remains a major challenge. One promising alternative for the discovery of novel potent analgesics is to take inspiration from Mother Nature; in this context, the detailed investigation of the intriguing analgesia implemented in Buruli ulcer, an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans and characterized by painless ulcerative lesions, seems particularly promising. More precisely, in this disease, the painless skin ulcers are caused by mycolactone, a polyketide lactone exotoxin. In fact, mycolactone exerts a wide range of effects on the host, besides being responsible for analgesia, as it has been shown notably to modulate the immune response or to provoke apoptosis. Several cellular mechanisms and different targets have been proposed to account for the analgesic effect of the toxin, such as nerve degeneration, the inhibition of inflammatory mediators and the activation of angiotensin II receptor 2. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge in the field, highlighting possible controversies. We first discuss the different pain-mimicking experimental models that were used to study the effect of mycolactone. We then detail the different variants of mycolactone that were used in such models. Overall, based on the results and the discussions, we conclude that the development of mycolactone-derived molecules can represent very promising perspectives for new analgesic drugs, which could be effective for specific pain indications. View Full-Text
Keywords: mycolactone; analgesia; neurons; AT2R; drug development mycolactone; analgesia; neurons; AT2R; drug development
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Reynaert, M.-L.; Dupoiron, D.; Yeramian, E.; Marsollier, L.; Brodin, P. Could Mycolactone Inspire New Potent Analgesics? Perspectives and Pitfalls. Toxins 2019, 11, 516.

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